Local

Fresno man allegedly murders brother-in-law

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Fresno man is in custody for allegedly murdering his brother-in-law during a heated family argument.

Jack Varela, 48, is in the Fresno County jail on charges of murder. But Varela's wife says he was protecting himself and her when he fired.

Mary Varela says her husband Jack decided he'd had enough Monday, when a family fight got completely out of control. Jack grabbed his gun, while Mary says several other adults were attacking her. "Even after I heard the gunshot, they were still on me. They still wouldn't get off of me."

Fresno Police Lieutenant Mark Salazar says the suspect and 40-year-old victim have had ongoing problems. Monday things came to a tragic end. "It first starts off with our victim and our suspect. They are fighting on the ground. Wives get involved, kids get involved, nieces get involved -- just a big melee out there."

Investigators say more than 10 family members live at the Brawley home where Daniel Cabrera was murdered. Police say after interviewing everyone who was a witness, they believe the crime was not in self-defense.

Lieutenant Salazar said, "When that shot rang out from that shotgun between the suspect to the victim, we believe it was murder."

Mary Varela says she was hit, kicked and punched during the family fight. She says her husband fired to eliminate a threat to both of them. "That I just don't understand, because if he didn't do that, I wouldn't be here right now."

The victim has a long criminal history. He was currently on felony probation for drug possession and DUI. He has faced felony charges on 10 different occasions including an attempted murder charge in 2006 -- that he was eventually acquitted of.

Police say Jack Varela had two main issues with Cabrera. "It was a combination of cars getting hit," Lieutenant Salazar said. "The suspect supposedly owns a lot of old cars, the victim supposedly in the past has broken out a window or two. Dogs are involved with each other. They just don't like each other."

Tuesday morning, another family fight brought police out to the home again, after some family members began moving stuff out of the residence.

Police say they have physical evidence and statements from witnesses that supports a murder charge. Investigators do not expect to make any other arrests in the case.

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Tags:
crimetracker, murder, shooting, fresno, fresno county, fresno west central, local, sontaya rose
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